What is a Flat Foot?

It is generally believed that the function of the foot and, consequently, the lower limb during human walk depends on the shape of the foot. The easiest way to assess shape of the foot visually, is to look into the height of foot arch also called the Medial Longitudinal arch (MLA). It has to be noted that foot has 3 arches: Medial Longitudinal arch (MLA) – arch from bal of the 1st metatarsal bone to heel, Lateral Longitudinal Arch(LLA)- arch from ball of 5th metatarsal bone to heel and metatarsal arch (MA) – arch across 1-5 metatarsal bones. Most patients are concerned about height of MLA and according to its height when person is standing it can be low – representing flat feet (Pes Planus); average (Pes Rectus) and high – representing a high arched foot or Pes Cavus. Many factors may influence shape of MLA and they include positions of foot bones, ligament(keeps bone together) tightness or muscle conditions.Each of these factors may be a cause for MLA to be lower than average leading to Pes Planus foot shape. In most cases Pes Planus causes the foot to have a good shock absorption function during contact with the ground but it stays very weak during push of phase of the gait and unables the foot to have stability function during push off phase of the gait.

This leads to stress to different muscles in foot or lower leg, ligaments and cartilage producing different signs and symptoms that may be present as a shin splints, heel pain syndrome (plantar fascia), Achilles tendon pain or generally stress on 1st toe causing functional Hallux Limitus and consequently leading to Hallux Abductovalgus (bunion). In short term help to reduce stress on muscles, ligaments or joints in the foot and lower leg appropriate footwear (strong heel counter, antipronatory features in midsole), over the counter arch support should be chosen to prevent excessive lowering of the MLA; while for long term success, custom made orthotics would be necessary. By creating custom made orthotics, the root of problem will be found and appropriately addressed.

To fully assess your foot and a get professional opinion on your foot shape and consequently function of your foot and lower leg you may contact our clinic at 905-796-3338. We should not forget that average person makes 5000 – 7000 steps daily and even the smallest imperfection in foot function may accumulate on daily basis and cause significant discomfort and/or damage of the foot and lower limb.